Yearning for Techie Safety
“Seniors in the market for a new car may want to consider the potential longterm benefits of choosing a vehicle with advanced safety technologies,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety & advocacy. “Equipping a new car with the right features can help an aging driver remain confident behind the wheel and out of crashes.”
It’s still important, however, for drivers to understand each safety technology, how it’s meant to be used, and its limits, says Nelson who warns drivers not to become over reliant on technology. The technology study recommends that vehicle manufacturers, dealers, and others need to explore new ways of training drivers to use advanced in-vehicle safety systems.
Forward collision warning and mitigation systems use on-vehicle radars, cameras, other sensors, and computer intelligence to determine the situations that could lead to a crash. These systems can help prevent crashes by warning drivers of a potential collision or by automatically applying the brakes. For older drivers, this technology can improve reaction times and reduce crashes by up to 20 percent.
Automatic crash notification is recommended because the systems automatically alert emergency services in the event of a crash. Older drivers are more likely to suffer from the serious effects of a crash because of their age, which means these systems can provide a greater safety benefit to seniors. The best known provider of this kind of service is GM’s OnStar. Similar services are available such as Hyundai BlueLink Connected Care, Subaru Starlink Safety Plus, and Toyota Safety Connect.
Park assist with rearview display includes backup cameras and obstacle-detection warning systems, which can help prevent crashes when pulling out of a parking space. About 95 percent of seniors want these systems in their next vehicle, while 55 percent reported that it could help reduce driver stress and workload.
Parking assist with cross-traffic warning systems use radar sensors to notify drivers of crossing vehicles when backing out of a parking space, and on some vehicles, the systems can automatically apply the brakes to prevent a collision.
Semi-autonomous parking assistance systems take over steering while moving into both parallel and perpendicular parking spaces, which can reduce stress and make parking easier for older drivers.
Navigation assistance with turn-byturn GPS mapping can provide older drivers with increased feelings of safety, confidence, attentiveness, and relaxation, which can help seniors remain focused on the road and more comfortable behind the wheel.
The reports’ findings are important because a record 36 million adults ages 65 and older drive in the United States -and this number is expected to increase substantially over the next decade. Recent AAA Foundation research has found that seniors who give up driving are almost two times more likely to experience depression and nearly five times as likely to enter a long-term care facility.
“Permanently giving up the keys can have severe consequences for the health and mental well-being of older adults,” said Peter Kissinger, AAA Foundation for traffic safety’s President and CEO. “New technologies and a focus on safe driving can help seniors remain behind the wheel for years to come.”
Older adults also can extend their driving years by adopting strategies that reduce their risk on the road. The research finds that many seniors can improve their safety by avoiding challenging situations, such as driving at night, in bad weather, during rush-hour traffic, in unfamiliar areas, or on the highway. In addition, seniors who successfully continue to drive are less likely to engage in potentially distracting behaviors, such as talking on a cellphone. Many older drivers also are less likely to speed or frequently change lanes, which can further reduce crash risks.
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2016
Park assist with rearview display includes backup cameras and obstacle-detection warning systems, which can help prevent crashes when pulling out of a parking space. Parking assist with cross-traffic warning systems use radar sensors to notify drivers of crossing vehicles when backing out of a parking space, and on some vehicles, the systems can automatically apply the brakes to prevent a collision.